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New Day Sunday
Biden To Travel To New York & New Jersey To Survey Storm Damage; Louisiana Residents Waiting Hours In Line To Get Gas; Manchin's "Pause" For $3.5T Bill May Imperil Biden's Key Plans; The Final Flight Of America's Longest War; "Front Row To History: The 9/11 Classroom" Airs Ahead Of 9/11 Anniversary; The Connection Between Climate Change And Severe Weather. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired September 05, 2021 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LIZ MCCARTNEY, CO-FOUNDER, SAINT BERNARD PROJECT: What we've been able to do it as VP is help owners understand how they can buy the appropriate materials that actually kill mold spores and then learn how to dry their house out so that when they do start to rebuild it, their house doesn't have any mold in it and they can live safely in it.
I just want to say thank you to everybody who is supporting people who've been impacted by Hurricane Ida. The immediate response is really important. The long-term recovery is going to take more time. And so, we ask you to stick with it.
Come on down and volunteer. Share your talents and help us make these communities even stronger in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: To learn more about the St. Bernard Project's efforts, go to CNNHeroes.com.
PAUL: And we want to wish you a very good Sunday morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. I'm Christi Paul.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi. I'm Boris Sanchez.
Building back from Hurricane Ida. Louisiana's governor says that his state has a long way to go its recovery, what he calls the biggest challenge in the recovery effort right now.
PAUL: Also, Senator Joe Manchin is squaring off with fellow Democrats and potentially throwing up roadblocks for President Biden's agenda over that massive spending bill, specifically. How Democrats are responding now.
SANCHEZ: Plus, last man out. CNN sitting down with a pilot who flew the final evacuation flight out of Afghanistan. PAUL: Also, going to extremes. From devastating floods and powerful
hurricanes, how climate change is fueling this extreme weather and why we can see more of it.
SANCHEZ: It is Sunday, September 5th. We're so grateful that you're spending part of your Labor Day weekend with us.
Good morning, Christi.
PAUL: Good morning, Boris.
Yeah, happy Labor Day to everybody. Maybe a little extra day this there for you, we hope.
So we're talking about President Biden, he is preparing to visit another area of the country that's been ravaged by Hurricane Ida. We know he'll travel to New York and New Jersey this week to survey the storm damage. And that, of course, follows his visit to Louisiana last week.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, there have been at least 50 storm-related deaths across six states in the Northeast. The remnants of Hurricane Ida brought unprecedented rainfall that led to catastrophic flooding in that area. Meantime, along the Gulf Coast gas remains in short supply. People have been waiting in line for hours to fill their cars and gas cans to power their generators.
Still more than 700,000 people remain without electricity. The power company, Entergy, estimates that electricity will finally be restored to most of its 1 million customers by Wednesday.
PAUL: We hope that for all of you down there.
While Louisiana residents are waiting for the power to come back on, a lot of them are waiting in line, as you saw there, for gas. It's not just gas. They need food and other necessities.
CNN correspondent Adrienne Broaddus is in New Orleans.
So, talk to us about what you are seeing today that might be different from what you saw yesterday there.
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, one week ago today this tree tumbled. I want my photographer, Carlos, to walk with me. But as this tree tumbled, it's a sign of what folks have been through before here in Louisiana.
They have fallen before, but they tell me they are determined to get back up. And as you can see, the power in this uptown neighborhood is up and running in some parts of the neighborhood, that is.
Other parts of the city in New Orleans are still without power. As you see over on this side, there is a portable streetlight which is powered by the generator. And yesterday for much of the day early in the morning all you could hear was the hum of that generator. But this morning you hear vehicles traveling through and you see the lights flashing.
At last check, and I want to point out these numbers fluctuate, there were more than 640,000 outages. That's down from the peak which was 1.1 him. Keep in mind, though, these are outages, homes and businesses. The number of people who are still without power is greater. There could be a family of five living in one house.
And some sad news to report here also. The number of deaths linked to Hurricane Ida has gone up to 12. The governor says the biggest challenge right now is dealing with electricity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS, LOUISIANA: Electricity is one of the biggest challenges that we have across southeast Louisiana. We know that and depending on the damage to the infrastructure, the transmission lines, the distribution lines, as well as generation capabilities, there's not an even rate of restoration going on.
And that's always going to be the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROADDUS: And one power company says it has 24,000 people, men and women, working around clock to get the power back on safely. That's 24,000 families who have loved ones working to restore power here in Louisiana.
And in the last seven days, on top of the 12 deaths linked to Ida, 350 people have died due to COVID. That's just a tremendous amount of stress, as you can imagine, especially for the health care professionals who've been dealing with the pandemic for the last year. They have zipped more body bags than some people will probably zip in their entire careers -- Boris and Christi.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, a really devastating note to think about as that region recovers.
Adrienne Broaddus, thank you.
Let's talk about COVID. The total number of U.S. hospitalizations, because of COVID-19, nearly tripled in July and they doubled again in the month of August. That's according to new data in Health and Human Services.
Right now, there are more than 100,000 people hospitalized with more than 25,000 in ICUs.
PAUL: That is slight improvement since last week, but it comes amid this growing confusion about COVID vaccine booster shots. The White House may have to dial back plans to administer a third dose and limit the booster only to those who received the Pfizer vaccine specifically. Now, the FDA and the CDC want more data before approving a third Moderna shot. Here's more.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'd like to make an important announcement.
PAUL (voice-over): Just last month, President Biden said Americans should be ready to take a third COVID-19 vaccine shot eight months after their last dose, with boosters being made available starting September 20th. But now, word that the only third shot available on that day may be Pfizer.
The FDA says it needs more data on the Moderna vaccine, a delay that could take a few weeks, and still no indication as to whether those who received the single-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson will need an additional booster.
The need for additional shots combined with this delay has some people wondering how protected they really are and may have others hesitating to get the vaccine at all.
But scientists say these kinds of changes are to be expected given the timeline of the virus.
DR. MIKE SAAG, ASSOCIATE DEAN OF GLOBAL HEALTH, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA BIRMINGHAM: One of the things that I think folks need to keep in mind is that the urgency, the speed with which you got the vaccines, was really important for saving lives. But it did not allow us to look in the long term for obvious reasons and now, we are having to sort of figure this out as we go. So, I'd give them a little slack. I'd say, okay, let's do it right. Take a little bit more time if we need it.
PAUL: Right now 53 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, 62 percent have at least received their first dose. The U.S. is now averaging 166,000 new COVID-19 cases every day. That's according to Johns Hopkins, with a 7 percent increase over last week's average. And medical experts are warning that the nation's healthcare system is on the brink of disaster.
DR. MEGAN RANNEY, PROFESSOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, BROWN UNIVERSITY: Our hospitals are at the breaking point already. I will tell you, ERs across the country, my colleagues are crying out for help. We don't have enough nurses. We don't have enough beds. Not because of COVID, but because of all the other stuff that wasn't taken care of for the past year and a half. Even a small COVID surge in many states is going to put hospitals into crisis mode.
PAUL: As children across the country head back to school, there is concern regarding kids and COVID. A new study from the CDC finds pediatric hospitalizations for COVID-19 soared over the summer as the delta variant spread across the globe. The hospitalization rate was ten times higher for unvaccinated kids than it was for those who had gotten their full shots, and doctors say we have to do everything we can to keep children safe.
DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATE DEAN, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEIDCINE AT GRADY: We are seeing sick children with COVID, but I want to emphasize that for those children under the age of 12 not eligible for vaccination, the best thing we can to protect those children is, number one, vaccinate all the adults around them and number two, use masks. I mean, facemasks and vaccination are the key to keeping our children safe.
PAUL: Meanwhile, federal health officials are watching a new strain of COVID. The WHO says the "Mu" variant carries mutations that could make it somewhat resistant to vaccines as well as treatments like monoclonal antibodies, but health officials say it isn't yet a serious threat.
PAUL: Dr. Taison Bell, director of the medical intensive care unit at the University of Virginia with us now. He's also an associate professor of infectious decides in pulmonary and critical care medicine.
Doctor, we appreciate your time.
Thank you for being with us.
Let's -- let me first ask you since we ended on that, about the Mu variant. How potent is it believed to be and how do you see the balance of treatment and all of these variants that are most likely on deck and beyond?
DR. TAISON BELL, DIRECTOR, MEDICAL INTENSIVE CARE UNIT AT UNIVERISTY OF VIRGINIA: Well, first, thank you for having me on the show to discuss this. This is a very important topic because whenever a new variant comes up we have to pay attention to it. So, the Mu variant was first discovered in Colombia January of this year and it's the fifth variant of concern that the WHO was investigating. It's been confirmed in 39 countries, including here in the United States.
Now, it does have a consolation of mutations that could suggest that it could be resistant or evade the new responses either induced by a vaccine or by natural infection. But it's important to emphasize that this is laboratory data. It's actually hard to predict how a variant is going to behave in the community based on its mutation. So, we have to gather more clinical data and monitor it.
But the larger point here is that we have a significant portion of the worldwide population that's still unvaccinated. And if we don't control the spread of virus, we're going to keep having variants that pop up that we have to pay attention to that could set us back to square one.
Now, in Colombia, their vaccination rate was a little over a fourth of their population. So these are environments where we're ripe to have more variants. So, we really have to get a move on for vaccinating the global community so that we can finally put future variants, you know, decrease that risk that we'll have more. PAUL: Sure. So when it comes to boosters, people in Israel apparently
are getting booster shots after five months. The U.S. guidance is that it should be eight. Is there a benefit for a detriment to getting your booster too soon?
BELL: Well, there are a lot of questions within that because the Israeli population is focusing on 60 and up and those that are immunocompromised. And France and Germany are doing that as well, focusing on those who are higher risk.
There is no magic number really when it comes to when to consider boosters. It's really a spectrum where the protection for immunity wanes. Now, the other thing to point out is that with the CDC and other officials, they are talking about this vaccine effectiveness in symptomatic COVID-19 which wanes over time, but protection from severe COVID-19, so ending up in the hospital on oxygen, in the ICU, protection against that from the vaccines are still very good and they persisted overtime.
So, I think the timeline is less important than figuring out who this is appropriate for and how to find that right balance between protecting ourselves and making sure that we are vaccinating the global population.
PAUL: I think the people who received the Pfizer vaccine feel fairly confident that they are going to get a booster just based on the information that's coming out that, you know, the White House made -- that may be the only booster they can get behind at the moment based on the clinical trials and what they are finding. They are waiting for Moderna.
But what about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? A lot of people got that vaccine and now they are wondering where they sit in this booster world.
BELL: Sure. Fourteen million people received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as well. Those people have a lot of questions. Now, this was one of the unfortunate things about the White House announcement because at the time that announcement was out, the Moderna trial data on boosters was not available and the Johnson & Johnson data on boosters were not available either.
Now, it's important to remember again that vaccine protection against severe COVID-19 is still very good. So even for Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, it's very, very good.
So take a step back and let's put it in the global context that symptomatic COVID-19 we certainly would prefer not to have it. I don't want to be symptomatic either, but protection from severe hospitalization, overwhelming hospitals, it's still very, very good. Now, the FDA is going to do their job. They will review the data from both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. I think we'll have a timeline out soon.
But this is the problem with announcing policy ahead of the science. We have to make sure that we at least get the data in and start reviewing it before we start setting expectations because essentially what happens is that you create a red marker around the date of September 20th and it creates a lot of anxiety. These vaccines are already out there readily available. So, it can create a lot of confusion.
For instance, the state of West Virginia actually approached the federal government and asked if the deadline passes, can we start using these vaccines for boosters off label. They were actually told they can't do that. So, it does creates a lot of confusion, unfortunately. But, you know, the main message is these vaccines are very safe when it comes to protection from severe COVID-19 and that protection does persist.
PAUL: All right. Dr. Taison Bell, your expertise is so appreciated -- thank you.
BELL: Thank you.
PAUL: And this morning at 10:00, be sure to join Fareed Zakaria for a glimpse of the post-COVID-19 world. I know you've envisioned it in your head. But how will we learn and work after the pandemic?
Do not miss this. "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" special, it's today at 10:00, right here.
SANCHEZ: All eyes are going to be on Senator Joe Manchin this next month because he could be the deciding vote on the president's $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill and he is not making things easy for his own party. The sticking points that have Manchin once again squaring off with prominent Democrats. That story, coming up.
SANCHEZ: Moderate Democrat Joe Manchin drawing the ire within his own party facing attacks from other Democrats after signaling that he may upend some of President Biden's top legislative priorities, the $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.
In a tweet, Senator Bernie Sanders warns the infrastructure bill will not pass the House if the Senate doesn't approve the reconciliation bill. Sanders not the only progressive responding to the West Virginia senator, calling for a, quote, strategic pause in the reconciliation bill.
Manchin arguing in "The Wall Street Journal" that a pause is needed to, quote, assess the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and the pace of inflation which has accelerated this year. The senator making clear he is looking to significantly reduce the size of any bill.
Let's discuss further with CNN political analyst Alex Burns. He is also a national political correspondent for "The New York Times." Alex, good morning. We appreciate you sharing your expertise and
reporting with us.
Complicating all of this is the deadline that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised that she'd put this infrastructure bill on the floor by the end of the month.
ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That is an extraordinarily important complication in this process, Boris. To turn around a reconciliation package in a month, which is basically the timeline Pelosi promised moderates in the House, would be a breakneck pace under any circumstances, even if you already had the bones of a compromise agreement already in place. They do not have that yet, as you were just explaining. Joe Manchin and other moderates in the Senate are holding out for a smaller, slimmer, more targeted bill.
And, you know, it's important to remember here, Bernie Sanders and other progressives would like to project the idea that they have 48 or 49 votes for a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill and the problem is Joe Manchin or Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona senator, they don't have the votes now. There is a larger, excuse me, constituency of the Senate of centrists not as vocal as Joe Manchin, not as out there as he and Kyrsten Sinema who are also uncomfortable going quite so big.
But there are so many interlocking pieces here. Where Bernie Sanders is absolutely right is if they can't get a sufficiently large reconciliation bill, then they will struggle to get that infrastructure package out of the House.
SANCHEZ: Let's get into the details just a touch because part of the debate between Joe Manchin and Sanders has to do with how much money is allocated towards combating climate change and other issues.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referring to Manchin as someone who is very cozy with the fossil fuel industry. Is there a way to split the difference between them?
BURNS: You know, there may well be. Part of the difficulty that Democrats have in parsing Joe Manchin just generally, the people I talk on the Hill and in the Biden administration feel like the challenge with him is he is not always necessarily looking for a specific line item concession on policy as much as he just wants to feel like bill has moved a little bit closer to the center.
And the question for progressives and for Senate leaders and for the White House is, can they make concessions that give Manchin that feeling that, you know what? This is a more mainstream, down the middle kind of piece of legislation without giving away the goods on stuff that the party's further left members really care about. I think you are absolutely right to identify climate as a crucial, crucial piece of that. I think it's absolutely true that Joe Manchin is close to the fossil fuel industry, he represents Virginia the beating heart of the coal industry in America when it was a more robust part of the American economy. So, I do think there are pieces on climate change that are tougher to
get past Manchin. But he has indicated significant openness to raising taxes and spending big. The question is how big.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, I think the counterpoint from Manchin is would you rather have him, a moderate Democrat, or a Republican senator in --
BURNS: A hundred percent.
SANCHEZ: Right. So --
BURNS: A hundred percent. And it's one of the things that Democrats run into trouble on when you see this venom directed at Joe Manchin from the left where if you didn't have Joe Manchin, you would have a Republican, and you wouldn't be able to start this conversation.
SANCHEZ: Right, right.
So let's pivot quickly to the January 6th investigation. The congressional select committee in charge is pushing back on this claim from some Republicans that the Justice Department cleared former President Trump of any role in it. A claim that we have seen echoed by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. Someone who himself said shortly after January 6th that Donald Trump does bear responsibility for what happened that day.
What's McCarthy's strategy here?
BURNS: You know, he did say that. That feels like longer ago than -- I think it was 7 1/2 months that Kevin McCarthy said that the former president bore some responsibility.
Look, Kevin McCarthy is trying to stay on the right side of the Republican conference in the House, which is very conservative and very, very pro-Trump.
And I don't think there is a lot more complexity to his strategy than that. I think the gradations of that strategy may change week to week, but the through line to it, the consistency is he simply is not willing to risk the ire of that faction in the House.
And, you know, this notion that the Justice Department cleared President Trump of any wrongdoing, it, we have heard this so many times since Donald Trump came into public life, that the absence of criminal charges is equivalent to total exoneration. And we all know that's just simply not how the criminal justice system works.
SANCHEZ: That's such an important to point out because even though there may not be evidence of a concentrated effort, of a coordinated effort to carry out an insurrection, it doesn't mean that Trump bears no responsibility for stirring up that crowd and saying he is going to walk down Constitution Avenue to undo the will of voters which I didn't do either way.
Alex Burns, we have to leave the conversation there. Thank you so much, as always.
BURNS: Thanks a lot.
SANCHEZ: Of course.
PAUL: So he was fresh out of flight school when the September 11 terror attacks happened. And just weeks ago, he flew the final evacuation flight out of Afghanistan. You're going to meet him next.
SANCHEZ: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, visited Ramstein Air Base in Germany yesterday and he praised U.S. service members for their work in helping the United States exit Afghanistan this past week ending America's longest war. Milley saying they did an incredible job.
PAUL: He also said the evacuation mission is something they, quote, "should always be proud of." Now the general remembered the 13 service members as well who were killed at the terror attack at the Kabul airport.
SANCHEZ: So he graduated the Air Force Academy in 2001 just a few months before September 11th and 20 years later he was the mission commander for the final five flights out of Kabul.
PAUL: CNN's Oren Liebermann sat down with Lieutenant Colonel Alex Pelbath to discuss the mission at hand and those final days.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The approach into and out of Kabul allowed little margin for error. Mountains surround Hamid Karzai International Airport and the valley is prone to bad weather. Thousands of Afghans on the field and thousands more desperately trying to get in. Nearby, a terror threat from ISIS-K.
In this environment, Lieutenant Colonel Alex Pelbath had a mission. The end of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
LT. COL. ALEX PELBATH, AIRBORNE MISSION COMMANDER: Instead of focusing on the danger, what all the operators do is you focus on the mission you got at hand. So you focus on your individual tasks, you focus on success, and you focus on doing your part of the mission as well as you possibly can.
LIEBERMANN: Pelbath was the mission commander of the final five flights out of Kabul. He snapped this picture of another C-17 taking on Afghan evacuees. In the background the cars and baggage in hangars about to be left behind.
PELBATH: I graduated in the Air Force Academy in 2001 and a couple of months later September 11th happened. So my entire career has been spent with a conflict in Afghanistan. And to see it comes to an end, that does make a mark, I think.
LIEBERMANN: Pelbath knew time was precious. Every second on the tarmac was added risk, and with the final troops loading up the, danger was at its peak.
Major General Chris Donahue, the commander of the 82nd Airborne, was the last soldier to step off Afghan soil, the military says. Pelbath later snapped this cellphone picture of his own flight. Then Pelbath gave the order, clamshell, close the cargo doors. Minutes later, flush the force. The order to take off.
PELBATH: I was able to see in front of me the first aircraft that just made their left turn. The second aircraft right behind, and the third had just lifted off, the fourth aircraft on the runway. I had the entire picture of the C-17 force in front of me, for sure an image that I will never forget.
LIEBERMANN: The five C-17s had been on the ground a total of three hours, he says. The end of a 20-year war was his final flight.
(On-camera): Part of what made this so special for Lieutenant Colonel Pelbath is that his own grandparents were on a U.S. evacuation flight. They lived in Hungary and fled to neighboring Austria in 1957. They were removed from Austria by U.S. Military aircraft in 1957 as part of Operation Safe Haven and that made this very personal for Pelbath.
I also asked him at the end of the interview if he had any thoughts. And he said look, this isn't just the credit of one person or any individual. It was all of the 80 or so crew members on board those five flights who made the final evacuation and withdrawal happen, and made it happen safely.
Oren Liebermann, CNN at the Pentagon.
SANCHEZ: Thanks to Oren Liebermann for bringing us that story.
Saturday marks 20 years since the September 11th terror attacks. And we now know how President Biden is going to mark the somber occasion. We've got details just ahead.
SANCHEZ: The 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks lands on Saturday, and President Biden and the first lady plan to visit all three sites where the planes hit, New York, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon, where in total 2,977 lives were lost.
PAUL: And the White House hasn't announced whether President Biden will speak. But we know former President Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama will attend the remembrance ceremony in New York and former President George W. Bush will deliver keynote remarks in Shanksville. SANCHEZ: So for 16 second graders at Emma Booker Elementary School in
Pensacola, Florida, September 11th, 2001, felt like a regular day other than the fact that the president of the United States was about to visit their classroom.
PAUL: Tonight CNN anchor and correspondent Victor Blackwell hosts a CNN Special Report. "The Front Row to History." He revisits that day through the lens of the students and their teacher and White House aides who were in that Sarasota, Florida, classroom with President George W. Bush when he got word that the second plane had hit the World Trade Center.
Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: What does it feel like to be back in this room? Although it's different, what's it feel like?
SANDRA "KAY" DANIELS, FORMER TEACHER, EMMA E. BOOKER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: I started here in 1993. This is my starting school. This is my home.
Read, read, read, read, read.
The teachers were here day and night, reading, teaching, teaching, reading, but they did the hard work, and they made the gains, and that's why President Bush was here to congratulate them.
BLACKWELL: The principal of this school asked you to greet the president.
EDWINA OLIVER, FORMER TEACHER, EMMA E. BOOKER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: I knew I didn't have to do anything but to say hello, shake a few hands. So I was pretty much calm at that point in time.
BLACKWELL: When did things change that morning on the way in?
GORDON JOHNDROE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ASSISTANT PRESS SECRETARY: We were getting very close to the elementary school and everyone's pagers started, you know, buzzing, buzzing, buzzing. We get these notes from the White House situation room that a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center.
OLIVER: The motorcade probably arrived around 8:35, 8:40-ish.
BLACKWELL: The motorcade turned into Emma E. Booker. What happened once the car stopped and the president stepped out?
JOHNDROE: I have never seen people jump out of a motorcade all up and down the line from all the cars so quickly. And it was the president's senior aides running to tell the president what had happened.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Good morning. BLACKWELL: Did you know by the time that he came in what had happened
in New York?
OLIVER: No, we did not. The only thing that we knew was that it was something important and something was happening.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: CNN anchor Victor Blackwell with us now.
Was it hard to get up this morning, Victor? I know.
SANCHEZ: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: Good morning, Christi and Boris. I feel like the Dos Equis guy. I don't often wake up before --
PAUL: I know. So, listen, this is such an interesting perspective and one that I don't think I've heard of before now. Did anything surprise you when you spent time with these adults who were the kids in that classroom?
BLACKWELL: Yes, I mean, this is the first time that you are going to see this story told this way with them together, especially on the 20th. Yes, there were lots of surprises, starting with what was a reluctance on the part of most of the students and certainly the teacher, Mrs. Daniels, to talk about it because, as I've described before, that they feel a degree of guilt.
There is a bit of, as I said, reluctance because they know as they have gotten older how much the others have lost, the people who are intimately connected to that day. Most people have a story of loss, of grief, and they don't have that. So they don't want the notoriety, but they know that this is, as one student called it, a duty to tell the story.
I was also surprised by how the teacher, Mrs. Daniels, in the moment decided to soothe and comfort her babies, as she called them. She sang to them and left the explanation, most of the day, to their parents for them to handle.
SANCHEZ: And, Victor, I'm curious about what led you to telling this story. I think 9/11 was one of those moments that we all remember where we were. I'm curious about where you were and how bringing this story to light took you back to that day.
BLACKWELL: I was in a classroom, too. I was a junior at Howard University on that morning. I had a 9:10 class at the communications school, and I had come in already and I was -- the first plane had hit and then the second plane hit while we were all watching it there as well. But it was -- you know, this documentary is kind of the answer to the where were you on 9/11. Everybody remembers. And it kind of put me in the mind of the people who were there on that day, the ones we see in the textbooks, the ones we've seen over the last 20 years. Which angles of the story have we not heard? And those students
sitting there facing the president as Andy Card walked in and whispered those 11 words into his ear, a second plane has hit the Second Tower, America is under attack. What was their perspective? And that's what we learned in the discussion tonight at 10:00.
PAUL: Yes, I can't wait to hear what they say about, you know, what they might have noticed because you saw the immediate change on the president's face. And what -- how, you know, how kids absorb that.
Victor Blackwell, it's good to see you.
SANCHEZ: Great to see you, Victor.
PAUL: It's a great piece. It's such a great piece. You go have a good day now.
BLACKWELL: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Come back anytime you want.
PAUL: Anytime, Boris wants a weekend off. You're welcome back.
SANCHEZ: That's right.
BLACKWELL: Will travel.
PAUL: Yes, there you go. Yes, thanks, V.
PAUL: And listen, you don't want to miss this. Be sure to watch CNN Special Report, "Front Row to History: The 9/11 Classroom." It's tonight 10:00 p.m. only here on CNN.
We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: From strong storms and unprecedented flooding in the East, to extreme heat, historic droughts and raging wildfires in the West.
PAUL: It's been a year, hasn't it, Boris, of extreme weather, not only across the country but globally. And experts say they know what's to blame.
Here's CNN's Natasha Chen.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From coast to coast, people are fleeing flames, wind, and water.
DAVE LAUCHNER, CAL FIRE SPOKESMAN: They are very dangerous conditions. And in 22 years of doing this, I've never seen fire conditions like we're seeing now.
CHEN: The Caldor Fire has forced tens of thousands of people in the South Lake Tahoe area to evacuate. It's the 15th largest wildfire in California history. And out of the largest 20 California fires, 11 of them happened in the last five years. Up the coast, the Pacific northwest saw a record-breaking heat wave earlier in the summer.
DALE KUNCE, AMERICAN RED CROSS: The Red Cross traditionally doesn't support cooling centers, but this is unfortunately our new normal. This is the first time it was 116 degrees. It won't be the last time.
CHEN: In the south, people are displaced from Hurricane Ida, which arrived on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. And in the northeast --
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY: We are in a whole new world now. Let's be blunt about it.
CHEN: The remnants of Ida brought flash flooding and tornadoes to areas that rarely saw these events in the past.
GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D), NEW YORK: The records that were broken in Central Park, for example, 3.15 inches in one hour. It broke a record literally set one week earlier. That says to me that there are no more cataclysmic unforeseeable events.
CHEN: In August, the United Nations' intergovernmental panel on climate change said it is, quote, "unequivocal that humans have caused the climate crisis." The report confirms that widespread and rapid changes have already happened. Some of them irreversibly.
A lead author of that report, Kim Cobb, explains how the earth has warmed more than one degree Celsius since pre-industrial levels.
KIM COBB, DIRECTOR, GLOBAL CHANGE PROGRAM, GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: We've, of course, known for decades that rise in fossil fuel emissions are driving warming across the planet. This warming is related to the heating of the atmosphere that has caused a 7 percent increase in the amount of water vapor that the atmosphere can hold.
CHEN: More water vapor leads to higher humidity, in some areas, more drought.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've had drought cycles, but this is the first time we've ever seen a megadrought, where it's year after year. CHEN: And in other areas, a potential for more rainfall and more
frequent heavy rainstorms, with oceans retaining more heat, hurricanes can get stronger, slower, and wetter, and Ida was a prime example of those changes.
With every fraction of a degree of warming, the effects get worse.
COBB: If we think this is bad, we have to get ready for the climate of the next decades, when we know we have a couple tenths of a degree warming more.
CHEN: In the U.N. report's most optimistic scenario, the world's emissions need to drop sharply, beginning now to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Even then, we'll peak above a dangerous warming threshold before falling again.
CHEN: I grew up here in California and in the '80s and '90s, we just didn't hear of as many large wildfires as we do today. In looking at the lists of the largest and most destructive wildfires in California history, most of them did happen in the last 10 to 20 year. So the effects of climate change aren't something that just future generations have to handle. It is unfolding right now in our lifetime. Back to you.
PAUL: Natasha, thank you.
So the Labor Day holiday is going to be also one hot one for people along the Gulf coast specifically.
SANCHEZ: Yes, and for folks in the northeast, you could be seeing some rain.
Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is in the CNN Weather Center. She has the holiday forecast.
Allison, what can we expect?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right. Yes. I mean, the last thing people who are trying to clean up from Hurricane Ida really want in the forecast is rain. Unfortunately, we do have that for areas in the northeast and the mid-Atlantic.
Now I do want to say, we're not talking torrential rains. We're not talking anything of that nature. The vast majority of this rain today is really going to be light. The problem is when you're trying to clean up, you just don't want more rain on top of it especially if you have a tarp on your house. Now here's a look at the rain. Again, the vast majority that moves through once we get to the rest of the day today, so for a lot of these same areas, tomorrow you will finally get the sunshine back into the forecast.
We do also have some scattered showers and thunderstorms across areas of Florida. So for a lot of those folks hoping to have the last weekend of official summer, before they can head out to the beach, you may have to take that umbrella with you. Now for other areas, also cleaning up from Ida, areas along the Gulf Coast, Louisiana, portions of Mississippi as well, you have a heat advisory in effect for today.
Now it's not just the temperatures, it's also taking into account the humidity as well. Take a look, New Orleans, high temperature today 90. But it's going to feel more like 96. Jackson 92 but feels more like 101. Houston, 95 with the feels like temperature of 102. And a lot of that heat is really going to stick around not just today but as well as tomorrow.
The northeast is a different story, though. Relatively pleasant conditions the high of 81 tomorrow in New York, finally starting to see that rain, and although we do still have some rain in the forecast for Boston tomorrow, high of 82. Atlanta and Orlando, guys, also looking at some scattered showers and thunderstorms in the forecast tomorrow.
SANCHEZ: Allison Chinchar, thank you so much for that.
PAUL: Alrighty, that'll do it for us. We hope you go out and make some great memories today. Thanks for being here.
SANCHEZ: Always great to be along your side, Christi.
Stay with CNN. "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" is up next.